Hawaiian youngsters are learning the Hula -
Not just a dance -
It is the words that matter - the ancient chant
Cultural Diversity of Endangered Language Speakers
Where will meanings be when the words are forgotten-
WS Merwin New York—
There are over 6,000 languages remaining in the world. We lose one every two weeks. Hundreds will be lost within the next generation. By the end of this century, half the world's languages will have vanished. The die-off parallels the extinction of plant and animal species. The death of a language robs humanity of ideas, belief systems, and knowledge of the natural world.
David Grubin Productions is pleased to announce a series of events coinciding with PBS' January 2015 airing of Language Matters, a two-hour documentary that asks: What do we lose when a language dies? What does it take to save a language?
The premiere event in New York - the most linguistically diverse city in the world -takes place at the National Museum of the American Indian on Wednesday, January 21, 2015.
The documentary airs on THIRTEEN, the flagship PBS station based in New York, on Sunday, January 25th at 12:30 PM. Events are also scheduled in Los Angeles at the Hammer Museum; in Chicago at the Poetry Foundation; and in San Francisco at The Exploratorium. For further information check your local listings or visit
Language Matters was filmed around the world: on a remote island off the coast of Australia where 400 Aboriginal people speak 10 different languages, all at risk; in Wales, where Welsh, once in danger, is today making a comeback; and in Hawaii, where Hawaiians are fighting to save their native tongue.
"Most people know that we are losing species," says Bob Holman, a poet widely known for his expertise in oral traditions. "Ask schoolchildren, and they'll know about the panda or the orchid - they'll have done a project on it. But ask someone if they know that languages all over the world are dying, maybe one in ten might."
Grubin, whose films include LBJ, FDR, The Jewish Americans, The Secret Life of The Brain, and The Buddha, says: "Most people in the world speak more than one language -monolingualism is a recent phenomenon. We're really celebrating diversity, looking at the vast domains of creativity and knowledge.